Disgruntled Students Petition Washington Post Company to Close Kaplan U.

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Hokiephile, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. Hokiephile

    Hokiephile New Member

    Disgruntled Students Petition Washington Post Company to Close Kaplan U. - Administration - The Chronicle of Higher Education

    January 27, 2011
    Disgruntled Students Petition Washington Post Company to Close Kaplan U.

    By Derek Quizon

    A petition urging the Washington Post Company to make changes at its lucrative Kaplan University, or shut it down, has garnered more than 7,000 signatures.

    The petition, which appears at Change.org, an online petitioning platform, has drawn more than 5,000 signatures today alone, and the number is rising rapidly.

    Each signature generates an e-mail message to Donald E. Graham, chairman of the Washington Post Company, and several other Post officials. The messages ask them to stop admissions to the for-profit university until it develops an "independent, third-party" system to investigate student complaints.

    The petition was posted on Change.org a little over a week ago, and was started by a group of about 25 people who describe themselves as disaffected former Kaplan students.

    The leader of the group, 40-year-old Shannon Croteau, said she was swindled by the university when she enrolled in its paralegal bachelor's-degree program. Ms. Croteau said the company had stuck her with $30,000 in debt for a loan she never took out, and refused to offer her any more financial aid, claiming it had "run out." She later discovered that her program had actually been an associate-degree program that isn't accredited in her home state of New Hampshire.

    A spokeswoman for Change.org, Carol Scott, said there was no way to determine how many of the petition's signers were students. The Washington Post Company did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
  2. major56

    major56 Active Member

    WOW a 40 year-old (Shannon Croteau) who didn’t realize she was enrolled in an associate degree program but thought it was a paralegal bachelor program (???). And this is a real claim magnificence … "Ms. Croteau said the company had stuck her with $30,000 in debt for a loan she never took out, and that Kaplan refused to offer her any more financial aid..." :loser: Where should one begin with this one?
  3. soupbone

    soupbone Active Member

    Yeah that's very odd...
  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Heh, good luck with that -- Kaplan University is the only part of the Washington Post Company that makes any money. The newspaper sure as hell doesn't!

  5. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    If I had to guess I"d say that she probably signed some papers without really reading them. For-profit schools have been taking a lot of heat recently and probably some of it is well deserved but where's the personal responsibility in this case? She thinks it's a Bachelors when it's really an Associates? She takes out a loan but doesn't realize it (where did she think the money was coming from?). And then she finally figures out that the degree is unaccredited where she lives. I can easily imagine that the school misdirected her (lied) but don't you double check? After all, it's only the rest of your life at stake.
  6. NorCal

    NorCal Active Member

    +1 :iagree:
  7. mcjon77

    mcjon77 Member

    There are definitely issues of personal responsibility here. However, before we just write this woman off as being borderline retarded, we have to acknowledge that the nature of this web forum may be biasing our perspective regarding what the average consumer/student should know.

    The average regular reader/participant on this forum knows vastly more about the intricacies of accreditation, state licensure, and for-profit universities than even the average university professor. Perhaps she just did the basic due diligence of checking whether the school was legit, and if their were any jobs out there for paralegals. The idea that a "legitimate" university like Kaplan would push a program that wasn't recognized in or state might never have crossed her mind.

    People naturally place a lot of trust in schools, and usually for good reason. However, when dealing with these for-profits (and in this day and age, even some of the non-profits) one really needs to kept their guard up and be a MUCH MUCH more informed consumer. However, for SOME of these for-profit universities, that is the exact opposite of the type of potential costumer they market to.
  8. Cyber

    Cyber New Member

    I see this sort of thing happening soon at other internet schools, where people are throwing their money away thinking they are getting PhDs, only to "fall off the cliff" after many years of financial squeezes and drainage by the frauds. After all, charging students extremely high tuition (from some obscure office building that is not a school) can only lead to one thing; collapse at the source right?.....just like in the sub-prime mortgage mess, where folks were sold houses that did not come close to being worth what the sales agents in connivance with fraudulent appraisers (who were after their commissions, only) told them. Defrauding students legally becomes illegal when more victims stop being blind...
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2011
  9. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Unfortunately, there is another possible explanation. According to former employees, Kaplan has historically practiced "guerilla registration":

    In at least some cases, it is alleged that Kaplan "academic advisors" accomplished this trick by breaking into student e-mail accounts. This allowed the advisors to harvest student usernames and passwords, so that the advisors could pose as students and sign up for more classes online. Then the tuition bill is passed onto the Federal government, which then seeks repayment of the loan from the student.

    The net result: many former Kaplan students have been astonished to learn that they are heavily in debt for Kaplan classes that they never registered for and never took. At least one state attorney general's office, in Florida, has opened an investigation.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2011
  10. infosecsouth

    infosecsouth New Member

    This is total BS. It's just not possible.. I refuse to believe people can be THAT stupid and careless. I went to Kaplan, and it's VERY easy to check which classes you are registered for by logging into your account. Also, Kaplan sends you the books to your home address upon registering for courses.. Additionally, there are status emails and other confirmation mechanisms.

    These people checked NOTHING? It really does sound to me like there's some disgruntled incompetent students that failed and now don't want to own up to their mistakes and debt.
  11. b4cz28

    b4cz28 Active Member

    That’s how I started out and my FA is so screwed up right now I'm in the process of hiring a lawyer to go to court over it. AIU charged me another 10 grand in FA after I dropped my classes, they kept enrolling me even though withdrew and received zero’s in all the other classes. I also took a few classes with FMU after they assured me they held the best accreditation and the state of Texas peace officer commission accepted them. They did not and were NA at the time. I knew nothing when I started, online schools were just starting to boom and I thought all schools were like my CC. But I stopped well before I dug myself to deep......I will win my case, it will just take time.
  12. major56

    major56 Active Member

    I’m not a fan of Kaplan University or a polemic re for-profit universities; however, these claims are no more than unsubstantiated allegations. And per this latest newspaper story … accusations from a student who claims she didn’t take out student loans for $30K, but furthermore claimed Kaplan refused to offer her ANY MORE financial aid access. Oh brother ….

    It is understandable why so many print newspapers are in the tank financially; they can’t even sell sensationalism anymore. Also, this student’s claim that per the State of New Hampshire a RA Kaplan degree isn't accredited appears rather suspect. And it wouldn’t be at all surprising that The Washington Post didn’t perform any due diligence (verification) toward this additional claim prior to publishing this story. And even if the student’s NH claim has truth; this assertion of degree accreditation non-recognition could no doubt be rectified through the Courts as the predisposed and uninformed bureaucrats of the State of Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board found out regarding NA e.g. DETC accredited degrees (specifically California Coast University). Re “On July 24, 2008,the THECB unanimously voted that the Accrediting Commission of the DETC be formally recognized under the provisions of Texas law. For the first time, DETC and its institutions will be formally recognized in the state of Texas.”
  13. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Kaplan has acknowledged that its students "can be pre-registered by their academic advisors for the next course or courses prescribed within their academic major". The rationale is that such pre-registration acts "as a safeguard to help them avoid missing a registration cut-off date and delaying their studies." Kaplan claims that such "courtesy registration" cannot result in a student being charged tuition without consent.

    However, it would appear that many former Kaplan students do not agree. If you are a current or former Kaplan student, and believe that Kaplan registered and charged you for classes without authorization, you should contact the Economic Crimes Division of the Florida Attorney General's Office. The applicable case number is L10-3-1192.

    The existence of an investigation does not constitute proof of any violation of law.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2011
  14. major56

    major56 Active Member

    That’s why this current petition process is likely futile. Why hasn’t the complainant taken her allegations to law enforcement? One thing about formal investigations via law enforcement agencies (e.g. State AG, DA etc.) … they independently probe all aspects of the charge/s.
  15. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    The crime is simply negligence.

    1. Kaplan doesn't cross-check their active student roster against pre-registrations.
    2. Students don't cross-check their upcoming registrations as they exit.

    Lawyers for both sides will make out more in fees that either Kaplan or students will.

    People just need to learn to read and be responsible. That statement isn't meant to take away from Shannon's bunch or Kaplan.. it's just common sense.
  16. major56

    major56 Active Member

    You've hit the proverbial nail square on its head …
  17. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Except that some former Kaplan students have claimed -- and apparently have the correspondence to back it up -- that Kaplan academic advisors continued to register them and bill them for classes, even after they repeatedly tried to withdraw. For example:

  18. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    The lawyers have already figured this out.
  19. mcjon77

    mcjon77 Member

    It's absolutely possible. In fact this isn't the first school where something like this has happened. You mention how easy it is to check your class schedule. Why would you check your class schedule if you did not believe you were a student there anymore?

    After I transferred from my first university to my second, I never bothered to keep checking to see if my former adviser at my previous school was secretly registering me for classes and charging my old account. Why would I? I know longer attended that school. I didn't even live in the state anymore.

    A similar situation occurred at Morris Brown College. The president of the university and the head of financial aid were convicted of fraud for telling the federal government that students who had left the college (or in some cases had never registered to begin with) were currently taking classes.

    The result was the college received the financial aid and federally insured loans for these students from the government. This came to light when students would find out later that they were financially responsible for loans they had never requested, and that the financial aid they were due had already been spent at a school they hadn't attended.

    So yes, it is possible.
  20. NorCal

    NorCal Active Member

    This is a civil issue so law enforcement wouldn't get involved. A complaint could be filled with the DA's office but it would be a stretch. . .

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